Multivitamins: Quality Counts
Quality multivitamins are more important than ever right now.
Chronic illness in America continues to increase. In addition, the pandemic also increases the need for extra nutrients to support the immune system. By priming the immune system with quality support, you will have a better response to the virus and other pathogens.
As an example, a good multivitamin contains Vitamin A. Vitamin A is crucial to the health of the mucous membranes of the lungs, naso-pharangeal system, and gastrointestinal lining. These constitute the body’s first lines of defense to pathogens. It is also involved in other aspects of the immune system, including the stimulation of the innate immune response and specific T and B cell response to viral, parasitic, and bacterial infection. So without an optimal amount of Vitamin A, your first line of defense and other aspects of the immune system may be compromised.
Another crucial nutrient is Vitamin D. Low vitamin D levels have been shown in multiple studies to worsen Covid-19 outcomes. 1,2,3 Vitamin D supports immune function and is also involved in immune modulation. In other words, having adequate Vitamin D reduces the chance of having the excess inflammatory reaction. This reaction is characteristic of poor Covid-19 outcomes. A quality multivitamin should contain at least 1000 IUs, or 25 mcg, of Vitamin D3. Depending on your own Vitamin D levels, you may need more.
Zinc is also important to immune function. A recent review of zinc in Advances in Integrative Medicine indicates that due to its role in fighting acute viral infection, zinc may reduce the risk, duration, and severity of Covid-19 infection.4 This is not surprising as zinc affects both innate and adaptive immunity. A quality multivitamin should have a minimum of 7.5 mg and up to 30mg of zinc in it.
Selenium plays a major role in the body’s antioxidant defense. As white blood cells attack invading pathogens, they cause free radicals to form. Selenium helps to “mop up” these free radicals by supporting glutathione, one of the body’s most important antioxidants. Selenium also plays a role in thyroid health, which affects all body systems.
A new study in Nutrients lists the following micronutrients as most effective in protecting against viruses like Covid-19: Vitamins A, B, C, D, and E, as well as minerals iron, selenium, and zinc. Each of these nutrients can be found in a quality multivitamin in amounts that would supplement a healthy diet.
Above are just the most important examples of the myriad ways in which a quality multivitamin can support you.
There is a significant difference in what is provided by your drug store multivitamin, and one that you will find at a store like Walsh Natural Health. Here are just a few reasons to make the change:
- Nutrients the Body Can Recognize and Absorb—Quality multivitamins contain the form of each nutrient that is both recognizable and absorbable by the body. You may find calcium carbonate, magnesium oxide, DL-alpha tocopherol, zinc oxide, and sodium selenite in your drug store vitamins. Better forms, respectively, would be calcium citrate, magnesium citrate or glycinate, d-alpha tocopherol, zinc citrate, and selenomethionine.
Why does your drug store multi contain poor forms? One simple reason: it makes them cheaper to produce. However, cheaper does not mean better.
If your doctor tells you that you are “peeing it all out” anyway, then surely they are talking about typical drug store multivitamins that are not well absorbed or used by the body.
- Potency—Certain levels of nutrients are required to produce an effect, and lower levels amount to window dressing. Don’t be fooled by vitamins that show 100% of Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs). These guidelines, set by the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine, are average levels for healthy people. DRIs are only adequate for avoiding overt deficiency. They do not account for levels of vitamins that promote optimal function. Hence, DRIs do not provide adequate protection for those experiencing illness, outside stressors, medical conditions, or genetic variations. So who are the Daily Reference Intakes appropriate for? In my experience, very few people.
- Unhealthy Preservatives—Titanium dioxide, BHT, hydrogenated oils, and more! These ingredients are in many drug store multivitamins for the manufacturer’s benefit, not yours. Titanium dioxide is a mineral that has no positive role in human health. BHT has been identified as one of the top additives to avoid by the Center for Science in the Public Interest. Hydrogenated oils have hydrogen added to them to improve their shelf life. Unfortunately, the body does not know how to process them. Hence, they circulate undigested, causing inflammation in the body.
- Unnecessary Fillers—If your multivitamin has corn starch or maltodextrin in it, that is a filler, plain and simple. It has no nutritional benefit. It is simply to bulk up the product. The use of these fillers is common in drug store multivitamins.
- Colorants—Certain colorants are approved by the FDA as “safe”. Some research connects the use of colorants to conditions such as ADHD and autism. Colorants are chemicals, not nutrients, and I don’t see the need for them. Your vitamins don’t need to be a particular color.
Quality multivitamins can ensure that you have optimal levels of nutrients to keep your immune system functioning at its best. In addition, they can fill in gaps in the diet, and provide nutrients to deal with the effects of stress or other conditions.
We can help you find a multivitamin that is right for you in terms of potency, without unhealthy fillers and preservatives. If you require gluten free, vegetarian or vegan, or have other special needs, we have options available to suit you. Contact us at (847) 864-1600 | (888) 960-6578
- Treatments for Covid-19, Harvard Health Publishing. https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/treatments-for-covid-19#:~:text=There%20is%20some%20evidence%20to,with%20COVID%2D19.
- Association of Vitamin D Status and Other Clinical Characteristics With COVID-19 Test Results JAMA Network. September 3, 2020. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2770157
- The link between vitamin D deficiency and Covid-19 in a large population, MedRxiv. https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.09.04.20188268v1
- Arentz S, Yang G, Goldenberg J, et al. Clinical significance summary: Preliminary results of a rapid review of zinc for the prevention and treatment of SARS-CoV-2 and other acute viral respiratory infections [published online ahead of print, 2020 Aug 1]. Adv Integr Med. 2020;10.1016/j.aimed.2020.07.009. doi:10.1016/j.aimed.2020.07.009 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7395818/
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